First Solar, Inc, a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems, and the IXL Group (IXL) of companies, a renowned producer of structural components for solar projects, have announced a new structure manufacturing plant in Adelaide that is expected to create 40 local jobs.
According to the press release by First Solar, IXL will now be able to assemble and deliver the mounting structures for Australia’s largest utility-scale solar projects to-date — First Solar’s 155 MW (AC) utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects — at Nyngan and Broken Hill in New South Wales.
The new facility will receive support from the Automotive New Markets Program (ANMP), which is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.
“As the solar industry continues to grow in Australia, there will be an increasing need and demand for a reliable and efficient local supplier base. Continued utilisation of local suppliers will not only reduce the cost of delivering solar power to Australia, but it will also create local jobs, develop regional skills and support more sustainable employment. Local procurement accounts for 56.3 per cent of First Solar’s total procurement spending on the Nyngan and Broken Hill projects, with over 450 direct construction jobs expected to be created and over $66 million spent on local equipment for both projects,” said Jack Curtis, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Asia Pacific.
“The opening of our Adelaide manufacturing plant is another significant milestone in the development of our solar business. As local automotive manufacturing declines, we have sought new business opportunities. Making mounting structures for First Solar has been a natural extension of our business and we believe Australian-made mounting systems can be more than competitive with imports. IXL’s ongoing work with First Solar demonstrates that,” said Claude Dagescy, IXL Solar’s General Manager.
According to the news article on the Business Spectator, the new facility is another significant milestone in the collaboration between the two companies, as IXL was the provider of the cost-effective, Australian-manufactured framing capability for First Solar’s 10MW Greenough River Solar Farm (GRSF) in Western Australia in 2012, which at the time was the first and largest utility-scale solar project in Australia.